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October 9, 2006 | by  | in Opinion |
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International Women’s Focus Group Survey

The purpose of this survey is to gauge female international students’ opinions and behaviours with regards to healthcare in New Zealand and at tertiary institutions. Workshops at previous Tertiary Women’s Focus Group conferences have raised concerns that international students’ attitudes shaped by their previous cultural experience; while international students are more prone to stress, isolation/depression and health issues leading to problems in their study, not enough is done to inform them of cultural norms in New Zealand. For example, some international students may be too modest or embarrassed to seek help for sexual health problems or even contraception, or one bad experience at Student Health may put them off going back. It would be extremely useful to us here at the VUWSA Women’s Group and the Tertiary Women’s Focus Group if female international students could fill out the below survey.

1. General Health – Doctors, type of services used, barriers to access


• Do you go to the doctor when you feel sick?

• How sick do you have to be to go?

• What kind of doctor? (Western, Chinese, Alternative etc.)

• If not, what do you do when you get sick?

• What kind of medicine do you prefer to use? (That which is prescribed by a Western doctor, herbal supplements etc.)

• What health issues concern you the most?

• What would stop you from seeking help?

2. Mental Health – Stress, Culture Shock, Depression


• How did you feel when you arrived in New Zealand? (Tired, jet-lagged stressed, confused etc.)

• Did you already know some English?

• Can you understand the Kiwi accent?

• What do you do to understand Kiwis better?

• When you feel upset, what do you do? (Pray, talk to someone, meditate etc.)

• Who do you talk to? (friends, family, counsellor, God, etc/)

• Do you know the services available on campus to help? How did you find out?

3. Sexual Health – Contraception, biology


• Do you talk to your friends about dating?

• Do you talk to your friends about periods?

• Do you talk to your boyfriend/ girlfriend about sex?

• Are there certain expectations in your relationships?

• Do you feel pressure to do things you don’t want to because of these expectations?

• Do you know about contraception? Where did you learn?

• Do you know where to get contraception from?

• Who would you talk about this to without feeling uncomfortable?

• Would you prefer information to be in a pamphlet or on the internet?

4. Access to Information/Recommendations


• What kind of health information would be most useful?

• In what format? (Postcard, pamphlet, website etc. )

• What languages?

We don’t mind how you choose to fill out this survey, you could write your answers on here or on a separate piece of paper and drop them into the VUWSA offices or you can email your answers to

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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